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Matthew Heineman News/Business. (2012) Matthew Heineman, producer and director of 'Escape Fire The Fight to Rescue America's Healthcare System.'

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Us 18, Hbo 6, America 5, Washington 5, Wendell Potter 4, Cleveland 4, New Zealand 4, Diabetes 3, D.c. 3, U.s. 3, Dr. Ornish 2, Dr. Andrew Weil 2, Dr. Martin 2, Dr. Weil 2, Yates 2, Connecticut 2, The Cleveland 2, Dr. Lesley Cho 2, Berwick 2, Walter Reed 2,
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  CSPAN    Q A    Matthew Heineman  News/Business.  (2012) Matthew Heineman,  
   producer and director of 'Escape Fire The Fight to Rescue...  

    November 12, 2012
    6:00 - 7:00am EST  

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read a book -- and nothing came out of that -- but from the film, it led me to a job at hbo. >> how big any guilt distrait here is that when they do not fix it? >> in you could get rejected. it hurts my ego. but i would not be sitting here if it had not happened. i ended up interviewing the founder of teacher america for my first film. it came closer call. >> going across the country -- were to go? how much did it cost you? >> i did it in the fall of 2005.
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it was very cheap. we were scrapping together money from family and friends. because sponsorship money from nantucket nectars. it was really bootstraps. ross, a guerrilla filmmaking. i have never held in camera before. it was learning as we went. it was an exhilarating experience. what an honor to go up to anyone across the country and get their story and speak to them about truth and deaths of their lives. it was a meaningful experience. we had a wide range of characters. half of the interviews were planned. mark zuckerberg, a drug dealer, and homeless kid.
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>> what did you learn? >> i learned a lot. i learned that no matter where you are from, no matter what your background is, that, you know, everyone has a burning desire to be better, to do better, to improve their surroundings. i sort of walked away from that trip -- we sort of went into that trip with people and other generations calling us apathetic, spoon-fed and directionless, and i went away feeling inspired that our generation, you know, does want to fix this country, does want to fix this world. i don't know if it is going to happen overnight. our world is changing every day. i think the way we communicate, the way we affect change is doing different things. my father and mother who grew up in the 1960's, we are not out there in the streets protesting.
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we spread information and communication in a much different way. >> where did you grow up? >> i was born in d.c., i grew up in connecticut, went to school in new hampshire. >> what was the atmosphere in your family? what did your parents do? >> my mother was a journalist, she was a science writer. she wrote for the washington post for a number of years. >> what was her name? >> christine heineman. my father worked for general electric, and he now teaches up in boston. >> wasn't his father also well known? i learned this from you, but thousand how did they fit into the path?
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>> my parents and grandparents are amazing people. i feel very lucky. >> what did they do? >> my grandfather was a completely self--made man. his father actually killed himself in 1929 after the stock market crashed and he was left sort of alone to fend for his family, and he went to school, found his way into law school, and started out as a lawyer and then ended up running the northwest railroad and a number of businesses in chicago. he was very civic-minded, too. his advisors, president johnson and others. i think my dad and i sort of inherited a lot of his social beliefs, and i think i carry eye lot of that with the film
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making that i do for sure. >> why did you decide to study at dartmouth? >> i didn't know what i wanted to do with my life. i didn't have a lot of direction. i played sports in college. i had always been fascinated by history. i had been fascinated by the civil war. i love history. i try to learn from the past. >> why film? what did you think film would do for you? did you film or did you do tape? >> tape, video. >> video. >> again, i think i sort of stumbled into it. i sort of fell in love with the process. i think film has this amazing
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power to really tell stories in a way that touches audiences and touches people in a way that the written form can't do. i mean, you can really speak great social truths through the power of the documentary form. it is such a maleable form. in this film, "escape fire" that i'm sure we'll talk about, we shot things, we had various crews. we lit a hill on fire. it was a hybrid form of all these different techniques we used to tell the story of our broken health care system. i think it is a beautiful form, and i love documentaries.
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>> we'll get to escape fire in a couple minutes. but to go back to that first documentary you did, or was it a documentary when you did the travel across the country? >> we thought we were going to make a documentary. they we shot about 150 hours of footage. we didn't know what we were doing. we were just filming and meeting people and following our gut. sort of came home three months later and said, what the heck are we going to do with this? we bought a cheap editing program, read some books, and started playing around with the footage. i ended up cutting together a little short film. we were in new orleans three months after katrina, so i made a little short about that day when we were there. again, i kind of was amazed at how moving it was to do this. i just fell in love with the process. >> you got this video somewhere that you haven't used? >> no, and then we ended up putting together a film we submitted to a bunch of film festivals.
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we kept getting rejected and kept getting teased. people would say, this is really brilliant. but then convenient twamly i got it in the hands of an executive at hbo. he brought me in. he said i love the film, we love the film here. we don't want to buy it, but we want to hire you to produce the all-comers project, which is a big public health camp feign. >> you still have all that video you haven't used. >> and then i continued to edit the film, and eventually, it was sent to the documentary channel, and it was on amazon and zulu. -- hulu. >> and the name? >> our time." >> and it made it into the alzheimer's project. >> i think you can buy it on
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d.v.d. and stream is online as well. i submitted our film, "our time," which was our first film. and i ended up getting hired as a producer to work on the alzheimer's project. >> why did hbo want to do this thing? >> i think hbo is just a wonderful channel. they produce a ton of content, but they are really socially conscious. every couple years they produce large public health campaigns. there is one on cancer, then addiction. i worked on the alzheimer's project. then they recently did a big public health campaign on owe betionity.
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-- obesity. >> what was the big thing you learn snd how many different shows were there? >> there were four different films as part of that series. as a producer, there was a film for children, a film for care givers. i learned a ton. i had gone from working on my own in a closet editing my first films to work with oscar nominated actors who were editing my films. john hoffman who hired me and has been a mentor. he was a kind man. i also collaborated with susan sopky intimately, and we decided to work on my film together.
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>> who is susan promky? >> she is an award-winning filmmaker and documentary maker. it has been a privilege working there at hbo. >> how close are you to your 30th birthday? >> very close. >> you did all this when you were 29? >> yes. >> you have a documentary released within the last month or so about what? >> "escape fire." it is about how and why our health care system is broken. why it doesn't want to change.
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and there are people out there who are trying to change it. we started making a film in 2009 just as the health care debate was peat heating up. there is so ever fear and confusion, it was dividing our country, the topic of health care. i think both susan and i wanted to understand how this came to be. why did this situation exist? we also wanted to find solutions. and people out there were trying to change it. we didn't want to make it just enflamic, we wanted to highlight swlutions as well. >> we have about 10 minutes of your hour and 39-minute documentary that we want to run during this discussion. let's just jump in and you can tell us who the people are.
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>> ok, i need some help over here. did he try to get up without anyone knowing? >> no, he just rolled himself out. he's not listening very well. >> where are you? >> we are on a medivac from germany to andrews air force base. we were really looking at the military as a microcosm of the reliance on pharmaceutical drugs.
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in america we spend $300 billion a year on drugs and that's almost as much as the rest ft world combined. we wanted to try to explore this. we ended up deciding to explore it through the military. you cannot almost not pick up the paper every day and see something about over medication or suicide in the military. so when we heard that the military was actually trying to fix this problem and they were trying to do a study to see if acupuncture could work in lieu of drugs on this medvack flight, it was sort of a homeland story we wanted to explore.
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it took us a year to get access to that plane. we had to get permission from the u.s. air force, u.s. army, and, you know, it took a long, long time. two weeks before getting on thoo plane we did not have permission. i was sweating bullets. it was before new year, 2010. then finally at the last minute we got permission to get on that plane. what we see there is -- we don't see the people who were in that study. we ended up following a person in that clip, sergeant yates, who was heavily, heavily over- medicating. we see what happens when we have a fragmented system. when we have a bunch of doctors picking out bits and pieces of us. there is no reason a human being should be on as many drugs as he was on that plane. he almost died on that plane. >> he had containers full of
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pills. >> the nurses and doctors on the plane could not figure out how many drugs he was on. his blood pressure dropped to a dangerous level where he almost died. i mean the whole plane was literally on shutdown. everyone was on high alert. >> that was in the air? >> it was in the air. >> you came from germany? >> to andrews air force base. sergeant yates ended up being the heart and soul of our film, somebody we ended up following for the last six months. >> he agreed before or after that you could use this. >> he agreed before. >> did he sign something?
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>> yes. >> so the whole trip you were allowed to shoot whatever happened to him? >> yes. we basically got free reign to film anything with the military, obviously within reason. for patients that we were following intimately, we need today eat get a release from them and the military needed to get a release from them as well. so he signed something before we got on that plane. >> did the military have any say as to what you could use? >> we were trying to be as unobtrusive as possible. you know, i was filming a little bit as well. i think the key to that scene is that none of that would have worked. in many ways, i think that is sort of the emotional crux of the film. it is where we get into the belly of the beast in our system and see sort of -- it is one of the most raw moments of our film.
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none of it would have happened if we had not been able to plug into the nurse's headsets. it was so noisy in there, you could not hear yourself think or talk. >> where is sergeant robert yates today? >> we ended up following him after this plane ride for many months, as i said, and he ended up entering himself into an innovative program at walter reed where they ended up using accupuncture, using medication, other techniques, to wean him off all the drugs he was on. through this program he was able to walk out of walter reed on his own two pete feet. i commend the military for two things, for one, allowing us to tell the story, both the good and the bad, but for recognizing the problem, by recognizing that there is this problem of over-medication and they are looking for outside-the-box ideas on how to fix it.
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that is sort of the whole aegis of the film, really, the thesis of "escape fire" is that the status quo is not working. >> explain it to us. what is "escape fire"? >> the short version or the long version? >> so people know why the name. >> "escape fire" is a metaphor between our health care system and what happened in 1949. basically what happened, these firefighters were dropped in to fight the fire. they were given the latest and greatest technology. they called it a 10:00 fire, meaning it would be beat by 10:00
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the next morge. finally the wind shifted direction and they found themselves running up this hill for dear life. the leader of this group lit a match and he burned the area around them, this way when the fire came and over-took him, he would be safe, and it is now known as a safe fire. he called for his men to come and join him. he remained unharmed in his escape fire, and they all died. it is a metaphor that we are all running up the hill sticking to the status quo when the answer is right here in front of us. >> here is another couple people we see right here in front of us. the former journalist sharon brownly and dr. lesley cho. why did you pick her as a spokesperson? >> she has written a book called "over-treated."
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that book was sort of seminole for us in understanding that more is not better when it comes to health care, that more can actually hurt us. it was her book that really explained that to us. and therefore i saw her out to be in our film. >> the vast majority of physicians in this country are paid a fee for services. that means they get paid for each office visit. if they are surgeons, theyette get paid for each procedure. if it is a radiologist and they get paid for each procedure. >> if i put in one of these sten st. s, i get probably $1,500. for me to spend 45 minutes with a patient to figure out what their true problem, probably going to pay $15.
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it is a completely irrationale system. >> fee for service rewards physicians for doing more. it doesn't reward them for doing a better job. it doesn't reward them for keeping patients healthy, it rewards them for delivering more care. >> what do doctors think of with fee for service? did you find out? >> nobody is happy with fee for service. it is an antiquated, broken, perverse system that nobody is happy with. it is the predominant way that medical services are reimbursed in our country. we pay for individual procedures. we pay for prescripe subscribing drugs. we pay for pieces. eamp service that a sponsor provides, they are paid for.
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when you are paid in that system you are incentivised to do more. you are not incentivised to do what's right for the patient, you are paid to do more. you don't really get to the bottom of what's wrong with somebody, necessarily. you don't have the time to spend 45 minutes to understand what's going on with their heart condition, whether there are other ways of, perhaps, you know, changing lifestyle. it is much easier to say, hey, we'll go to the cardiac cath lab and put a stent in. >> how did you get to the cleveland clinic and dr. lesley cho? >> we were reading in the "new york times" about an article, about a man, a doctor outside of washington, d.c. who would
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basically being arraigned for putting in way too many stents. this article explains over- treatment. one of the doctors quoted was dr. steve nissan, the head of cardiology at the cleveland clinic. so we gave him a call and asked him to be in our film. he agreed. it is through him we started to learn more about the cleveland clinic as a model for health care. and in speaking with them, we met dr. cho and yyvonne osborne was one of dr. cho's patients. >> here's more of that story. >> i have lost since last year 21 pounds. >> oh, my gosh.
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she had bypass surgery at an early age, 27 cardiac catheterizations and well over seven s tents. thds an unbelievable amount of students -- stents and cardiac caths. i can't tell you how shocked we were when we saw her for the first time. here is a young lady whose diabetes was never well controlled, her cholesterol was never controlled. if someone had talked to her, i think many of her cardiocatheterizations and stents would not have bb necessary. >> that is an extreme case, but so many people have stents that don't need them. in fact, 97% of stents aren't helpful or useful.
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>> why do they do it? >> because that's what they are taught to do. it is easier to put in a stent than to spend 45 minutes talking to a patient, spending time getting them to change their lifestyle or putting them in cardiac rehab. frankly, it pays more. you get paid $1,500 to put in a stent or you get paid $15 for 45 minutes. what would you do? >> what did you learn about your research that doctors or doctor's groups actually wanted to generate more money instead of take care of patients? >> i'm not a cynic. i don't think people go into medicine to hurt people.
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i don't think people go into medicine to make money off of people. but we have set up a system that allows doctors to profit off of sickness. that allows doctors to profit off of doing these procedures. if those are the incentives you are given, then what you are going to do? as doctor nissen says in that film, to a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail. they are paid that way, they are taught that way, that's the culture, and that's what they do. >> the woman, yvonne osborne, what was your relationship with her? how long did it take you to find her? >> it took a couple weeks. for us casting is very
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important. you try not to film people and leave them on the cutting room floor. so we are judicious at finding someone and speaking to them at length beforehand. so it is a several weeks long process in finding her and ultimately following her. >> who is dr. lesley cho. >> she's the head of raidology at the cleveland clinic. >> she talks about the fact that she gets $15 to talk to somebody for 45 minutes, $1,500 to do the catheterization. >> she is talking about the traditional model. at the cleveland clinic, she is paid on salary. she doesn't get paid more to do more. she gets incentived to do a better job.
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wheree never seen a case it is only $15 a visit. >> it is how much the doctor gets paid, not the hospital. >> you have another doctor you feature, dr. aaron mark. where is she? >> she is based in oregon. >> why did you go to her? >> i think dr. martin really represented the frustration of doctors. we everyday americans who are not in the medical field, you know, i think most americans aren't happy with health care, with the health care they get, with the time that they get with their doctors. but what they don't -- what i didn't realize is how unhappy doctors are. 50% of doctors would get out of medicine if they could.
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>> get out? >> yes. there is a study that found 50% of doctors would get out of medicine if they could. what dr. martin represents to us is not only the frustration of doctors but the frustration of primary care doctors which really should be the basis of health care. we have an obsession with specialists. specialists get paid more. doctors are more incentived to go into primary care. primary care is really the basis of health care. it is how we have preventative care. it is how we move from having a disease system to a true health care system. she was in a community health care clinic. who paid for that health clinic? do you know? >> that is a government-run clinic for the most part. they mostly get paid by the state into medicare and medicaid. >> let's introduce everyone to dr. martin. >> sure.
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>> instead of basing things on outcomes, on how good of a job we are doing, the government sets the reimbursement completely on the number of patients that we see. it doesn't matter how complicated they are, huche time we spend on them. it is just a number, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. you have to play this game, what does this patient need and how much time am i willing to spend with them? the administration is saying, we need to see more patients. if you buck the system, someone will say, what do we need to do to get your productivity up? i am not interested in getting my productivity up. >> what happened to her? >> she was not happy with being forced to put bandaid fixes on deeper problems. she was handcuffed by the system.
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she couldn't help people the way she wanted to help people. she was forced to -- she was so frustrated she ended up leaving. that was her last day at that clinic. we follow her over many months as she sort of seeks out a different clinic that perhaps will allow her to succeed in a more meaningful way. >> when -- did you know when you went to oregon and videotaped her that she would be leaving? >> yes. >> where did she end up? >> she ended up going to a fellow ship with dr. andrew weil who is a big proponent of lifestyle medicine. he really thinks that there is say gap in medical education. that most medical schools only spend four hours on nutrition. if you look at heart disease, i
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don't know the exact number, but a huge percentage of heart disease is based on nutrition and lifestyle choices. and heart disease is the number one killer in america. and doctors are taught four hours of nutrition? so i think what he is trying to do, he brings in doctors from all over the country and sort of reteaches them in a way a much more holistic look at the body. he teaches them preventative medicine and nutrition and other things. these are not just primary care doctors. these are specialists as well that are coming from all over the country. so she goes to this fellowship program where she is reinvigorated by it. >> so will the audience see dr. andrew weil, well known book writer and lecturer, so -- and dean ornish and that, who is now going to say, i now know where they are coming from?
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>> i think a lot of people view dr. weil and dr. ornish as sort of fringe doctors who advocate for alternative medicine. i think that is an unfair view point. first of all, i think they are both incredibly smart and incredibly passionate about fixing the health care system, and they both strongly believe that we need to move away from this system to a much more preventative-based health care system. dr. weil is dedicating himself to education. dr. ornish has used science to show that lifestyle can actually reverse heart disease. it is amazing what he's done recently.
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he also has shown that you can shorten your telemeres. when you are stressed, they get lessened. when you don't eat well and don't exercise, they get lessened. when you shorten your telemeres, you are more suceptible to disease. what he has shown is if you increase your lifestyle, if you exercise more, eat right, destress, you can lengthen your telemeres and protect yourself against disease. >> another name we're going to see is someone in this town, dr. berwick. the republicans locked him, but people would write that the
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republicans liked him as well as the democrats, but because of the situation here in town, what led you to use dr. berwick as one of the chief spokespeople in your film? >> two things. he's one of the leading minds in health care. he's one of the few people that can actually fix our system. the real reason why is that he wrote an essay called "escape fire: lessons for the future of health care." so for a year and a half our film was called "the tale of two systems" which was pretty much the mor most boring title of all times. and then someone sent us this he is a called "escape fire" which drew the metaphor between our burning medical system and a forest fire.
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interestingly when we knew that, we knew that's what we wanted to call our film, so we sought him out to be interviewed for the film. he ultimately ended up being a stage-like character in our film, coming in and out with our experts. >> we see shannon brownly, the normer new york news reporter and dr. berwick. >> we spend a spectacular amount of money on health care. shear numbers, $2.7 trillion per year. the afrpbl per cap -- the average per capita cost of health care was about $3,000. we spend one heck of a lot of money.
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>> the health care system is not affordable anymore. who pays for that? this is all coming out of your pocket. it is your money. >> the really astonishing part about the fact we spend more is that we have worse health outcomes. >> if you need mysterious technology today, like a serious cardiac procedure, you are lucky to be in this country. rescue care is second to none. as an overall system, no, we are not anywhere near the best in the world. look another -- at our results. our lifespan isn't even in the top 20. >> we have a disease care system, a very profitable disease care system. if the health care system was honest with itself, it doesn't want you to die and it doesn't want you to get well, it just wants you to keep coming back
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for the care of your chronic disease. >> a lot of people think -- a lot of americans think we are the best in the world, they are happy with the health care system. who is going to be the most unhappy with this film? >> people always ask us, who are the villains. >> i didn't ask you that. i want to ask you who you think will be unhappy. who will step out and say that point of view is bank loney? >> i think the status quo will be unhappy. andrew weil says in our film, there are rivers of money flowing through very few pockets, and the owners of the pockets are the big insurers, the pharmaceutical industry, the medical device industry, and, you know, they are making a lot of money off this disease care system that we have.
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they don't want to see anything change. what we see in that clip is that we spend twice as much as any other developped country in the world but we're at or near the bottom on almost every metric in health care. but we're in the 20's. literally, on almost metric of health we're at or near the bottom. so clearly we're spending more but getting way less, and this has to change. >> what i know is that we are obviously and visibly critical of the insurance executive by the name of wendell potter. >> wendell potter was a former executive at cigna who visit aid place called remote area medical. that was started by a tv personality from britain. it sends airplanes into third world countries to provide health care. they realized there were places in the u.s. that needed -- equally needed that type of care.
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he literally flies in these jumbo jets and provides health care at fair grounds, nascar grounds, and when wendell potter went to visit one of these remote area missions, he saw thousands and thousands of uninsured people who were standing in line to get health care, and he had this crisis of conscience. he realized what he was doing, he was denying people access to care. >> he was with cigna insurance at the time? >> yes, and he realized he could not continue doing what he was doing. >> did he speak out before he left the company or after he left the company? >> he stayed in the country a couple more months, then he looked himself in the mirror and decided to resign. >> what does he do now? >> he wrote a book about his experience accident -- and
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speaks in lectures and writes. >> has the insurance company done anything to try to stop him? >> he doesn't like being called a whistle blower. he's not really a whistle blower. i think it is hard for them to try to stop him, because he's really grounded. a lot of whistle blowers are, you know, extreme and polarizing. he's really well liked by everyone, even people in the industry. he doesn't have too many enemies. i'm sure certain people in the insurance industry don't like him. but he's not -- he's sort of unveiling something people sort of already knew but really speaking the truth about it. >> here is wendell potter. >> there is the assumption that people that run government are elected officials, people from congress. but it is not true in many
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cases. the power lies with corporations and corporations and the corporate interests and the lobbyists they buy. i was almost as surprised by anybody to see the report that i was the most frequent visitor to the white house during the health reform debate. it was important to keep expressing the hospital's position. >> it is an experience world to live in, in terms of getting your voice heard in washington, d.c. >> how powerful are lobbyists in the health care system? [laughter] infinitely. >> why did the head of the hospital association speak to you? >> they wanted to give their perspective, and we wanted the perspective of lobbyists.
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i don't think he's a bad guy at all. i think he's just doing his job. his job is to advocate on behalf of hospitals, and that's the way our system is set up. >> shannon bradley laughed about the money thing. $1.1 billion. what did the health industry get for that $1.1 billion? >> the insurance industry got a bill that did not have a mub option and got a bill that was essentially giving them 30 million more customers. the real winners of the health care bill were the insurance industry that got many, many more customers. people don't really think about it that way, but that's sort of what happened. >> how many money do we spend a year on pharmaceutical? >> $3.1 billion. >> what did the hospitals get out of it though?
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>> it is unclear what exactly the hospitals won from the bill. i think it was one of the things -- it was one of the thing in which they were trying to examinetive forms of payment. where hospitals, instead of getting paid for this fee for service, instead of getting paid for doing more, they were given a lump sum of money, and they said you have to be more judicious in how you are paying them. it is much more of an emphasis on qual quality versus quantity. it remains to be seen if that will work. >> you say you are not cynical, but you went through the whole alzheimer's discussion for hbo and now you have your
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documentary. if you watch your documentary, the pharmaceuticals get knocked, the government gets knocked by the fact that they determined, as we saw, the doctors having to see so many patients a day in order to make the money and all of that. are we better off informed than we were before the health care bill was passed? how did you come out of this? >> i think with this film we really wanted to be agriculture noftic. we wanted to highlight solutions. we wanted to make a film that was not partisan. that essentially would allow a sane and meaningful conversation.
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that was the point of the film, to bring all stake holders to the table. >> why did you talk to him? >> it was a model that both sides sort of lauded as how the private sector can be part of the solution. >> one company has looked for a way to reign in spiraling preemyunyums and hit what seems to be a win-win solution. >> in 2005 we had a health care bill rising at the rate of $1 million. what we discovered was that 70% of health care costs are driven by people's behaviors.
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>> at my heaviest, i was over 200 pounds. i would have my pizza, my comics, my dvd's, and that was the weekend. >> he realized one day, wow, i haven't worked out or exercised, and you get busy and it is the last thing you are really concerned about. >> i was chronically coming down with colds, and i knew there was a history of cancer in my family, diabetes, heart disease. i was a walking dead man. >> i was a business guy, and i thought if we could influence behavior of our 200,000 people work force we could have a material effect on health care costs.
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the easiest starting point was in the 30,000 non-union health care force. i believe that in four years all of our employees will get this kind of health care plan. >> a billion health care plan going up at $100 million a year. one of the messages you put through on this documentary is stop eating so much and start exercising. >> yes. 75% of health care costs go to preventable diseases. heart disease, some forms of cancer, diabetes. so we really as a society have to figure out how to become more healthy. we need to incentivize people to do so, we need to give them resources to do so. we need to stop subsidizing the wrong foods. it is a multieye factorial problem. americans are -- we want. if we don't go to the doctor and we don't get a pill to fix something, we're unhappy. so i think one of the messages
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we hope comes across in the film is we do have this amazing power to heal. we have ownership over our own health. sure some people have genetic predispositions and because of their socioeconomic status don't have the same resources, but within all of us, we have the capacity for healing. >> can you tell us how much this costs you to do? >> the film? i don't know. i don't feel comfortable. >> who funded it? >> we had one investor, but the majority of the funding came from grants, from foundations, and from individuals across the country who believed in what we were doing. >> how can someone get this if they want? >> we just released it in select
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theaters across the country, and it is also available on itunes and video on demand. >> do you want to make money from this? >> of course i need to make money to live and put cheerios on the table and to get by, but for us this is more than a social product. we hope this film can be used for social good. we are seeing that happening for good. we see it screened at 52 medical schools across the country all in one night. just to see the energy for change. i think there is really this powerful movement out there, that people want to change the system, that people want to fix this problem. and then, you know, a week later we screened at the pentagon hosted by the u.s. army surgeon general. she said this film will propel us to change the way we practice medicine in this country. that's powerful stuff.
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what i'm most optimistic it about is that we -- i don't know if we can wait for change to happen in washington. i don't know if we can wait for national change. what i'm most optimistic about is change lapping at a local level, compluent by compluent, hospital by hospital, clinic by clinic. >> final clip for our discussion, dr. aaron martin and also dr. nissen from the cleveland clinic. >> from the commercials on television, why wait? we can just take a pill right now. >> when i watch the networks, half the ads are for pharmaceutical agents. that is not true in canada, france, or germany. the only other country, by the way is new zealand. new zealand and america are the only countries where you can advertise prescription drugs. what does that do? the ads always end with the same phrase, "ask your dr." and they do. and doctors wanting to please their patients will often prescribe it.
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>> do you know when this started having pharmaceutical ads on television? >> i think it was the 19 -- i don't know. i think it was the 1970's, but i'm not sure. we're the only other country other than new zealand that's allowed to do this. >> why are we the only ones? and why new zealand? >> i don't know. that's a good question. who knows. some of these agencies have created diseases that we have built drugs around and people were making millions of dollars off of them. >> did you look into why they see these ads? they will advertise something and say your left arm might fall off your right ear might go away and they go on and on and
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on what the side-effects are. why do they have to do that? why do they do that? >> they are legally obligated to list the side-effects. there was a law that was passed that forced them to list side-effects. we had a sequence in the film, you know, a tragic comedy listing all the side-effects, your head will fall off, your arm will fall off, your private parts will fall off. it is crazy that these things actually happen to people and we're giving drugs to people that have these side-effects. in the story we see the story of avendia, a drug that was used for diabetes. and it ended up killing between 50 and 200,000 people because the company glaxose really sat on the evidence and hid the fact that this was causing heart attacks in a subset of patients. >> what's next for you?
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>> i don't know. i don't have plans for another film. i am dedicated to getting this film out there. i believe in this message, and i plan on traveling around the country with this film. right now we are in sort of the traditional release of theaters on demand and itunes, but i want to continue to take the films into medical schools and businesses. we are planning on doing something with the v.a. i want to work with the military to make sure this film can have an impact. >> for those that like documentary film making, what's the big lesson you learned in doing this particular film that you will never do again? >> boy. i don't know if i'm ever going to take on such a big topic like this. i think one of the biggest hurdles for us was one, health care, scratching beneath the surface,
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it is a pretty boring subject, so from day one we had to figure out how to make it interesting. and also it is a complex topic. presidents since teddy roosevelt have been trying to fix this problem. it took us three 1/2 years to make this film. i think for my next film i want it to be much more character driven following one person or one institution and having that say a larger truth. >> just to wrap up, born in d.c., grew up in connecticut, went to dartmammoth. the name of that film is called what? >> "our time." >> and you did the alzheimer's project in what year? >> 2009. >> this documentary is called "escape fire: the fight to
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rescue america's health care system." our guest has been matthew heineman. >> thank you so much. >> for a d.v.d. copy of this program call 1-877-662-7726. for a free transscript or to give us your comments about this program, visit us at q-and- a.org.
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>> next, your live calls and comments on the washington journal compaq. . at 3:30 p.m., and british prime minister david cameron gives a policy speech. >> 2013, should be the year we begin to solve our debt through tax reform and the entitlement reform. i am proposing that we convert the fiscal cliff together in a manner that ensures that 2013 is finally the year that our commitment as to grips with the major problems that are facing us. >> i am open to compromise. i am of continued ideas. can i am committed to solving our fiscal challenges. but every fees to expect any approach that is not balanced. i kim osborne to ask students
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and seniors in middle-class families to pay down the entire deficit while people like me, making over $250,000 are not asked more in taxes. >> the current congress still has work to do in the claim that session. session. duck follow all the floor debates, starting tuesday at 2:00 p.m., eastern. >> this morning, national journal correspondent for immigration reform. later, the

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